Sunday, January 29, 2012

Market, shibori, kauri

Yesterday was market day in Whangamata and as usual I had a stall.  I decided to move some stock so I could have fun creating new ideas so I put up a sale sign announcing 50% off the marked price of everything.  It worked not too badly and had a reasonable number of sales.  Some things I could have sold twice over so there were some disappointed customers but I didn't take orders as really, at 50% off, they were give away prices.  Caught up with some friends from years past and had fun.  We won't mention the Devonshire scones and tea though.  Shhh!
My shibori samples of navy blue cotton which I've bleached (maybe I should say decoloured).  Anyway the purple is just what I wanted so now I have to work out the metres needed for a garment and hope I have enough thread.  The wee rust thread in the right hand side sample denotes a change of treadle to try a different stripe sequence.  Its actually not as dark as that; my photography skills are the problem.
 On one of the four sunny days we had last week before the rain returned we decided to go on a bush walk for a change and discovered this grove of kauri trees, a slow growing majestic native of New Zealand.  Although this pic shows mostly punga trees there were many.  As it took a second or two to point and shoot my camera I spent some time picking up fallen kauri tree leaves and bark while Pete spent time with his shot.
Thinking I would try dyeing yarn with them I'm wondering if they should be soaked or boiled or if and what sort of mordant?
Yes, these weeds are out of focus as they kept moving in the breeze but what glorious colour.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Shibori cotton

 I have a problem in that I can't for the life of me dye cotton with Procion dye.  I almost get hysterical at the prospect and when I try the dye doesn't take.  Acid dye on protein fibre, no problem but cotton, hopeless.  I have several big bags of cotton that I've acquired over the years thinking I would overdye to more desirable hues but .. see above!

This rust cone I have given away twice and it comes back unused so its time came to try an experiment with watered down bleach.
The fabric was about 20" (51cm) wide before pulling the resist threads.
 The first pic was taken as the soaked sample went into the solution so it is darker than in reality.  (A light bulb just went off here.)  The second pic is after four hours of soaking and I just realised that that is also darker than it would be when dry.  You can see the edges have really bleached out to a dirty white.
This is the first glimpse as the resist threads are released.
This is the above stripe sample washed and pressed showing that even deliberate stripes come out very organic.  The bleach solution was painted on one side of the sample only.

The next sample was covered in the bleach solution and left soaking for two hours.  It has 6 rows of tabby between resist threads which I like better than the samples I did with 4 which is a bonus timewise.

I think this last is my favourite but the one above does look a bit reptilian.  I used a weaker solution of bleach for this and I'm liking the three degrees of colour, the original rust, an orange and its tint.

So now I think I'll tie on a couple of metres of navy blue cotton which I know bleaches out to purple and see what I get before putting on a long warp.  This is all unmercerised cotton.

Click on all pics to bigify.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Keeping the edges flat

Have all you weavers seen Laura Fry's latest post called Beginning.  It shows how to put the waste yarn in at the start of the warp.  What a simple trick to put the waste yarn around the tie on stick to keep the edges flat to start.  I tried it this afternoon and it works a treat.  Thanks Laura.

I've been in a funk!

Yes I have, I've been in a funk.  Can't settle to do anything and when I do try it doesn't work out.

And we've all had enough of disasters in this wee country.  Just way too many multiple deaths from disasters - mine collapse, earthquakes, floods, hot air balloon fire and the last on my beach, the Rena broke in half and littered the beach with bags of milk powder, timber, containers, a little oil and (don't ask) rubber gloves.  None of it involves me directly but I know folks affected and it all gets into your psychy after a while and affects you.
Bull dozer tracks

Timber from Rena

Pallets from Rena

And where has our summer gone?  Half way through January, and that's half way through summer, and it hasn't started yet.  We've only had one or two sunny days and they've had strong "fresh" winds making it unpleasant to be outside.

Enough already!  We're over it.

OK so what have I been working on?  I wove another black and white Kete blanket which you can follow the link to see pics.  I love this structure but you have to be pretty fit to lift 13 shafts when weaving double layer.

I've had a large, maybe 1.5 kilo, cone of thread I've been storing for years and years thinking it was linen.  As the weather has been cooler than most summers I decided to knit a summer jumper on the knitting machine.  Lint flew around, was building up around the cone and was falling on my knees but I wouldn't admit this seemed strange.  It was linen, I'd finish the back.  Took it off the machine and it felt yuck, kind of sleezy/slimey.  I held it against the cotton t-shirt I was wearing for size.  As I pulled it away it sounded like fabric ripping.  So I "frogged" the knitting and the cone can go to the op shop labelled acrylic.

Tried my hand at some sewing using a Burda magazine pattern and a length of silk fabric I've had in the "stash" for about ... maybe 20 years.  Not easy to sew as it slipped everywhere and not a good project to get your sewing mojo back as the instructions weren't very clear.
Sorry, blogger is determined to lay this on its side - an omen perhaps!

I tried some hand knitting but that hasn't been working out.  Used a selection of black through grey to silver threads to knit a shoulder wrap for my daughter for when she sits in an air conditioned office.  It kind of looked OK but when friend is silent on the issue and when someone else says thats neat and friend is still silent you get the message to have another look.  The back looked alright as daughter is tall but it just wouldn't sit right in front so its gone in the never, never basket.  Have tried various cowl patterns since and they just aren't singing to me.

Before I started the kete blankets I wove some scarves and have just tasseled and fulled them.
This was a space dyed warp of single cashmere - anyone else brave enough to try that.  I wound the warp on very slowly and only had one broken thread and none in the weaving.  The second chain was black merino and its woven echo weave but the tie up had areas of tabby so its a bit different.

Again this is echo weave with a rust/red and bottle green warp with a purple weft.  The green has one ply of a shiny rayon and the light is just catching it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Double two tie unit weave

I'll try to explain this structure.

A unit weave refers to a group or block of threads in warp and weft which are threaded or treadled in a particular way to produce pattern.

A tied unit weave is a unit weave in which a supplementary pattern weft is tied to the cloth by designated warp threads called "tie-down ends".  Each threading unit consists of tie-down ends and pattern ends.  The tie-down ends are threaded on the same shafts throughout while the pattern ends are threaded on different shafts in each block.  Based on information from The Complete Book of Drafting for Handweavers by Madelyn van der Hoogt.

Two-tie refers to the number of tie-down threads in each unit or block, e.g. in this instance its 2 but could be 3 or 4.

Double refers to the number of pattern threads in the unit or block.

In my particular Kete pattern the tie-down threads are 1 and 2 so a unit would be 1, 3, 2, 4 and the next unit 1, 5, 2, 6 etc with all shafts from 3 upwards being pattern shafts.  (In Summer and Winter each unit uses one pattern shaft making it very economic 1,3,2,3 and 1,4,2,4.)

And double layer means its woven in two layers joined on one side to get the width on my 32" wide 16 shaft
loom.  Odd shafts are used for the top layer and even shafts for the bottom layer which means I use 1 and 3 as tie-down threads on the odd layer and 2 and 4 on the even and all others are pattern threads for the respective layers.

Excellent reference books include:
The Complete Book of Drafting for Handweavers by Madelyn van der hoogt
A weaver's book of 8 shaft patterns edited by Carol Strickler (Chapter 10, Plaited Twills)
I haven't seen a copy but the above 8 shaft book refers to
Double two-tie unit weaves by Clotilde Barrett and Eunice Smith

Hope this explanation helps.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Several people in my family are allergic to wool (and I have more than most yarn shops, but we won't go there just yet) but who would have thought I could collect this group of cotton, rayon and other manmade fibres together without going shopping.  
The same with this group of black through grey which I have started knitting, unlike the group above.  More later when prototype completed.  (Unfortunately, its not looking as good as the yarn collection would have led one to believe.)

I knitted like the clappers and finished these Tardis socks in time for wrapping for Christmas.  Yarn:  Waikiwi from Naturally Yarns, merino, possum, alpaca and nylon, 4 ply.  The first hand knitted socks I've made and they'll probably be the last.  Can't believe how long they took to make.  I used steel needle size UK13 (2.25mm) and UK12 (2.75mm) which had belonged to my grandmother and then Mum and I couldn't help wondering, as I knitted, how many pairs of socks had been knitted on those needles.  I had printed instructions from Yarn Harlot's post December 24 (the proper way to receive a knitted gift) in case they weren't greeted in the correct manner but I needn't have worried,  a big smile, socks on feet all day!
Handspun corriedale, sliver from Anna Gratton, lace pattern from old magazine.  Knitted while travelling - airport stop overs, on trains, in hotels.  The recipient's husband said she would have to get a new outfit to go with the gloves!
Not a Christmas gift but finished and delivered to grandson Jack on the day.  Recycled denim was lovely to knit and shows off the cables well.  Why does my knitting always turn out smaller than I planned after its stitched up?

What's on the looms

Well its January 1, 2012 and time to reveal what's on the looms again.

First up is my table loom with the remainder of the double weave warp from here where the blue part of the warp ran into the white.  I'm in the process of taking both warp chains off the loom and I'll try soaking the blue warp in a salt solution.  If that doesn't work I'll discard the threads.
The 16 shaft compu dobby has a warp ready to weave another Kete blanket and an order for more colourways but my yarn supply company didn't come through with my order for wool before Christmas so will have to wait till mid January.  Its possibly held up by the Auckland wharfies strike ... grrr!
The 8 shaft Nitschke has a cotton warp sett at 30 epi and I'm doing an experiment in shibori.  So far the samples are promising some excitement but I want to repeat some samples and try others before revealing what I'm doing.
So three looms full of potential for the new year.